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Originally published in six volumes, which sold more than one million copies, Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln was praised as the most noteworthy historical biography of Sandburg’s generation. He later distilled this monumental work into one volume that critics and readers alike consider his greatest work of nonfiction, as well as the most distinguished, authoritative biography of Lincoln ever published.
Growing up in an Illinois prairie town, Sandburg listened to stories of old-timers who had known Lincoln. By the time this single-volume edition was competed, he had spent a lifetime studying, researching, and writing about our 16th president. His extraordinary portrait brings fully to life the country lawyer who would become one of the most influential and beloved presidents of the American republic. Additional information about the author can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/carl.
Yes, we all know how the story ends.
But this significant book (44+hours) was well worth the listen. Carl Sandburg tells the story of Abraham Lincoln in a way that had me feeling like I knew the man. I learned the good, bad and completely unexpected about Mr. Lincoln, his beliefs, his relationships, his humour and the amazing times in which he lived.
Arthur Morey was a wonderful narrator, balancing his delivery and dialects in a measured, respectful and, I thought, unbiased way.
The ending was sad because it felt like I had lost a friend.
30 of 32 people found this review helpful
I have read several Lincoln biographies, including Doris Kearns Goodwin's very good one, but this one gave me much more of a sense of Lincoln, the man. There were many of his jokes, many instances of his interactions with ordinary people, so many stories of his kinndness and understanding of human nature.
I didn't realize when i bought the book that it was 44 hours long. To my great surprise, I finished it in about ten days, listening four or five hours a day because I was so interested.
There were a few stories about Mary Todd Lincoln's difficult behavior that revealed her illness and his constant generosity and understanding.
I also liked Sandberg's references to how Lincoln's speech sounded. I am almost certain that he would never be elected today, as he would be dismissed as an ignorant hick.
From previous biographies, I knew that Lincoln was shot on April 14. When Grant defeated Lee at Appomattox on April 9, I realized the end was near. I kept hoping (knowing it was ridiculous) that Lincoln would decide to stay in that Friday. The stories of some of the things he did that day were heartbreaking, and so very kind. For example, he met a widow with four children whose husband's pension hadn't been paid for months. He promised to personally take care of it the next day. She wept in gratitude, and I wonder if she ever got that pension.
The national train ride of mourning was so well written that I felt the nation's love and sorrow. One shortcoming, I felt, was that other than the moments and hours after the shooting, Sandburg provided no quotes or insight into the reactions of Lincoln's wife and sons. I wondered what it was like for them to accompany his (eventually decomposing) body around the nation. In the midst of their grief and horror, I wonder if the solidarity of the crowds was conforting, exhausting or both.
Often during the book, as Lincoln's decisions were reviewed, often very unfavorably, by his contemporaries, I wondered how long it takes to get a fair perspective on history.
This was a beautifully written and narrated book, and it will inform my view of Lincoln and American history forever.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Abraham Lincoln the most enjoyable?
Realizing the gravity of whom the biography was written and who wrote it; both giants in their place in our history.
What did you like best about this story?
That it revealed the common themes of our politics then and now. It also emphasized how close the Union came to dissolution.
What about Arthur Morey’s performance did you like?
Arthur Morey was steadfast - it was a long book - that he brought remarkable sound to the written words of Sanberg.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I have a long commute and confess that I drove with wet eyes more than a few times.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Written by Carl Sandburg, narrated by Arthur Morey, a very long audiobook - over 44 hours of listening. Although originally released way back in 1954, this audiobook format was released in 2013.<br/><br/>Two American legends. One, Carl Sandburg - poet, author. The other, Abraham Lincoln. This alone should tell you this book is a pretty decent listen. Predominantly a history of the United States from the late 1700s through the end of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is also recommended for anyone interested in an understanding of Lincoln, the man.<br/><br/>Abraham Lincoln is a compilation of Sandburg’s decades of research. The book is filled with Lincolnesque homily, often disconnected, one line insights as an attempt to convey Lincoln, his time, character, friends, enemies, and Lincoln’s humble roots. Typical of the writings of the time, the prose is wordy and some would say verbose. Starting with details about Lincoln’s heritage, his grandfather also being an Abraham Lincoln, his father Tom, the brief life of his mother Nancy Hanks, the book traverses Lincoln’s life, election, presidency, the American Civil War, through his ultimate assassination in April of 1865.<br/><br/>Narration by Arthur Morey is superb. It’s apparent that Morey admired Sandburg’s writing and Abe himself.<br/><br/>If you are interested in the preeminent insight into Lincoln, an in-depth look at his foibles and amazing intellect, this read is a must. It is also an excellent American history lesson. Enjoy!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
This is by far and away the best biography I have ever read. It is not in the least smarmy-the principal failing of most biographies I've read. It presents a wealth of fact, largely leaving it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. The facts often cast Lincoln in a bad light, but this only contributes weight and substance to the portrait of a very great man. And that is the book's principal merit, it reveals in its fullness, with poetry and pathos, the astonishing genius of Abraham Lincoln.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
This was a much appreciated listen and very moving. It's too bad that more politicians don't try to emulate President Lincoln. But I think there have been very few such extraordinary people who have risen to our highest political office. This book has had a dramatic impact on me. I most highly recommend it. It was very well read.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
I am curious about his sources but assume most are cited somewhere. After 40-something hours of Lincoln I feel I have a much better grasp of the time and Lincoln himself. Also can't help but to draw comparisons to our current political climate and think maybe things aren't so different (aside from an actual war).
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book brought home all the anguish, fear, and fury of a time in our nation which was even more volatile than what we are experiencing today. It made me realize that a polarized nation is more the norm than we believe, and adversity brings it to the forefront. Hearing first hand letters written before, during, and after the civil war brought home just how much firsthand misery is inherent in troubled political times, how there are no winners in a divided nation. To do what is right, we must sometimes do what is not personally expedient and allow the arrows to fly where they may.
I have to say that it put the anger and frustration of today's headlines in perspective. We are made up of the stuff of the universe and we forget that in our desire to order our world to our own liking. Social justice is a worthy goal and one which every American, no, every human being should strive toward.
Lincoln was a man before his time and one wonders just how better this world might be, had he not been silenced in his prime.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book is an essential history of the man who was Lincoln. Reading this book has given me a more powerful understanding of the trauma of the Civil War than the many books I have already read. The writing is beautiful and the history is truly profound.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Arguably our greatest president, he was still just one of us. Today's politicians have no humility, admit no weaknesses, and acknowledge no wrong doing. It is a shame they never knew the flawed, yet amazing man that was our 16th president. If they could have, perhaps things would be different now. The biography was well told, and kept my attention. The narrator's emotion and inflections were just right.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful